Category Archives: Travel

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra) ordinary

Extraordinary ~ {Beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable}

We frequent the Kruger National Park quite regularly. In fact for the last 11 years I think we have been there at least 15  times.

In June of this year we visited again. In all the years we have been going there, the sighting below is quite rare.

Lion 1

Lion 4

Lion 3

Lion 7

Lion 5

Lion 6

A whole pack of lions in broad daylight. They came so close to the vehicles it was nerve-wrecking and exhilarating at the same time!

First the lionesses and cubs made their appearance. Then the males came. Lazily strolling through the park while nosy cameras went wild.

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The perfect holiday

Holidays could possibly be the best thing ever. Perfect vacations are meant to be care-free and unworried. It could be sunny days spent in some exotic place…far away from the norm of life, or even cold, snowy days warming up by the fireplace.

Some people live for the December or Christmas holidays. They are typically very special times spent with family and friends. Some of us go home (if we live in another city or country), or some of us choose to travel to a holiday destination preferably close to a body of water.

We just had a perfect holiday. When we left Jozi for Nelspruit, our faded skins were craving the cool splash of chlorine or salt water. We fought the scorching hot days by lazing in the pool and allowed the sun to kiss our skin. We slept in most mornings and had late nights eating good food with good friends, laughing and sometimes debating current issues. I started reading several books but haven’t finished any. I ate whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted. I hardly checked my phone or replied to messages…not to mention social media. Some days I brushed my hair, other days I didn’t. In fact, how silly of me to pack my hairdryer and straightening iron to a hot, humid province like Mpumalanga. I am not ashamed to say, I went curly the whole holidays. Isn’t that the point of a holiday…breaking away from the norm?  Travelling is meant to broaden your mind…and also giving it a rest.

Although I am sad that I didn’t spent the holidays with my family (who I will see in a few weeks time), it still was perfect. I am grateful for our hospitable friends who have now become family, and so graciously opened their beautiful home to us Jozi-slickers. 🙂

Holiday snapshot

Holiday snapshot

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Going home…

I love going home. I love the familiarity of the breath-taking surroundings…and believe me, it is truly beautiful!

My mother must be the most excited of all about us coming home. She eagerly anticipates it, weeks before. She will send me weekly messages to announce her excitement.  Then, as the weeks go by…it becomes daily.  I love getting these messages.

We usually drive…it is a 14-hour trip.  Then, when we finally reach the Boland Mountain Complex, we already feel at home. We slowly meander through the pass and as we emerge from the Huguenot tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the country, we reach our beloved Paarl.  We breathe relief and a sense of peace as we make our way home.

Huguenot tunnel

We pass rows of colourful blocks of flats of a nearby suburb called Amstelhof. This suburb in turn houses smaller districts with strikingly foreign names like: New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc. Maybe named so as a reminder of the locals and their dreams of travelling and a better life.  As we drive we marvel at how much we missed our beloved mountains and valley.

Paarl

The girls literally start jumping up and down in the backseat and you can touch the surge of hullabaloo in the air. We enter the street where my parents live and see familiar faces; some people are working in the garden and others sitting on the stoep (porch). We notice some neighbours have painted their houses and some neglected them. We try and make a subtle noise by hooting as to not disturb the late sleepers. In a flash my Mom appears and rushes to meet us by the car. The sheer expression of joy on her face is priceless. She squeals with delight that all her chicks are back in her nest. This must be one of the most beautiful and emotional encounters of my life. We exchange hugs and kisses and shed some tears of joy. It feels great to be home.

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Interesting people I see on the bus everyday

Public transport: {Conveyance for passengers, mail or freight}

Bus: {A vehicle carrying many passengers; used for public transport}

Although his face looks moderately young, he could be my father’s age.  He has a friendly face that reminds me of Madiba. In fact he looks like Nelson…like he could be from that generation.  The gentlemen of that time would still make a point of dressing up when they had to hit the streets.  He looks like he could wear a hat, one that he would tip up as and when he would greet someone.

Nelson Mandela

 

He makes his way from the front of the bus and scurries to find a seat before the driver pulls away. He comes to sit opposite me. I cringe as he accidentally steps on my toe while trying to wiggle in his seat. He nods my way, and then shies away. His hands give away that he might have had a hard life. The calluses on his hands indicate that he could have used it for hard labour in the past.  He looks down mostly…almost like he feels intimidated. The bus is filled with busy office workers, managers and young people, all about their own business.  Some of them sit and stare into nowhere.  Some inadvertently (or maybe not) shut out any possibility of conversation by meddling with their phones or listening to music.  There is the odd girl who dares to whip off her heels and put on her flats, to prepare herself for walking from the bus stop. Some people quietly whiff and look with disapproval at her. Maybe it is the quiet and stiff environment that we are in that makes him shy away.  I want to ask him about his life.  Where does he work? I see him often.

I want to ask him about his family and where he lives. But he doesn’t look up. Sometimes our eyes meet and just when I want to strike up a conversation, he looks away again. Maybe I should also just be bolder. Maybe tomorrow…I will talk to him tomorrow.

 

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Hopefield wind farm – hope to 70 000 families

My family and I had to travel home about 2 weeks ago to attend my Granny’s funeral.  Ryce Phillipa Damonse (nee Ryan), passed on at the age of 100.  At the same time, it is a sad time for our family as well as a celebrated one.  I will write more on her life as time goes on.

So we had the opportunity to visit our beloved Cape Province again.  It will always be my home. Wow…it is breathtakingly beautiful.  You have to see it, to experience it.  The towering mountains, the rolling hills, the rusty-colored vineyards…truly magnificent.

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Our backyard…this is the view from the house my hubby grew up in

On one of our day trips we went to the West-Coast.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an enormous wind farm just outside Hopefield.  It was so impressive, almost eerie.

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Enormous wind turbines

As we came closer these tall structures in the middle of nowhere, almost intimidated us.  They gently, but productively whipped in the wind, apparently generating enough electricity to power 70 000 low-income homes, or 29 000 medium income homes!

This is extraordinary for South Africa.  We face so many socio-economic challenges, and times have shown that we need innovative solutions to eradicate poverty.  This is the first of a few such farms that will assist in decreasing the demand on the national electricity grid.  Exciting news!

Read more about this fascinating project over here.

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A world in Jozi

It is wet in Jozi.

* I mean really wet!

It has been raining for days on end…and the roads are extremely congested and flooded.  This morning while on the road, I sat it out for nearly 2 hours waiting for the rush to slowly go by.

It is interesting to drive through the streets and observe the different styles of homes.  It is particularly interesting to see how some homes look like they do not really belong…but they conjure up imaginings of either previous era’s or distant places.

This one grabs me everyday:

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This villa is less than 2 kilometers from my home, but instantly transports me to Tuscany, Italy.  It is dilapidated and rugged…almost like the owners forgot about it.  Or maybe left it to decay on purpose.

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It is mysterious and illusive.  I always wonder what lie behind those blue-grey doors.  Maybe I will stop one day and find out.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: In the background

Background ~ {The part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground}

Garden Route Holiday 102

This picture reminds me of a picturesque scene from a Norwegian Harbour.  However, it is of a local harbour…Mosselbay.

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Makes me itchy to travel!

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What makes a city? Do people really matter?

I was pleasantly charmed by a movie I watched recently.  “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen, is set in Paris and Owen Wilson plays the character of Gil Pender, a screenwriter trying to write his first novel.  While exploring the city by night, he mysteriously transports to the 1920’s and meets all his favourite writers, musicians and artists.  He falls head over heels in love with the city.  However his fiancé does not share the same sentiment and ironically he falls out of love with her.

Midnight_in_Paris_Poster

Now, I have never really had a deep desire to visit Paris.  Maybe because I thought it was overrated or people fussed about it too much.  In any case, hubby and I had an opportunity to backpack through Europe a few years back.  We were set to spend 2 nights in romantic Paris.  We tried finding our hotel but really struggled to get around because no-one would respond to us in English.

We ended up leaving “romantic Paris”…we couldn’t find any romanticism.  We ended up walking around for hours.  I build up this grudge against the Parisians and immediately decided they were arrogant and snobby.  There was no way we would spent our hard-earned money there.

Quite disappointed we left Paris

Quite disappointed, we left Paris

We left and spent an extra two nights in Barcelona!  Wow, what a city!  Ironically we had a total different experience!  We had a lovely, warm reception, and people made an effort to help us.  It quickly became our favourite place, and I would go there on the drop of a dime.

Now 8 years later, I’m rethinking everything…especially after watching this movie.  Also, a friend of mine and fellow Blogger, Wade Manning, moved to Paris recently, and I really enjoy reading about his experiences.

In hindsight, I realise I was a bit ignorant.  I could have made an effort to learn the basic: Bonjour Monsieur, parlez-vous anglais?”  But I also ask myself why they could not make an effort to be more friendly?  Why must they be so snobbish?  Maybe our decision to leave prematurely robbed us of some brilliant experiences.  And that is what travelling is about…learning about new places, people and cultures.  And we chose to abort “living the French way”.  We never got to eat any French food or visit the Eiffel Tower… none of that!

So I pose the question:  “What makes a city? Do people really matter?”  My conclusion is…yes, people matter.  People can either make or break your trip.  Coming from sunny South Africa, I am proud to say that our people are said to be some of the friendliest in the world.  I have met countless tourists and visitors and they would always commend us.  “Ubuntu” is what and who we are.

Desmond Tutu explains what Ubuntu is:

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

Children of South Africa

Friendly children of South Africa

I love that…and I try to live that.  Our general culture in South Africa is one of Ubuntu, and yes you do get rude and angry people who choose not to live by this concept.  And this is true for every country in the world.  Maybe we just ran into the wrong people on that disastrous day we arrived in Paris.

Time is a healer.  I think I’m ready to embrace and give Paris another chance.  As Owen Wilson’s character sums it up in this quote from the movie:

Adriana: I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.
Gil: No, you can’t, you couldn’t pick one. I mean I can give you a checkmate argument for each side. You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.”

I think I’m ready to experience this now.  Paris is now once again on my list of places to visit, and this time I will go ready and armed!

Paris, nous voici!!

So again I pose the question:  “What makes a city? Do people really matter?”  What is your feeling?

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DIY: Around the world on a whim

Travelling broadens one’s mind.  It has been said that “Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer.”

A few years ago I went travelling around our beautiful country.  To remind me of my trip, I decided to make a lampshade using a map of South Africa.  Here is how I did it!

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This is a quick and easy way to update any room…go ahead and try it!

Also featured in December/January edition of 4changemagazine.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

Beyond: (On the farther side from the observer) ; (Farther along in space, time or degree)

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I took this pic while traveling from Jozi to Cape Town. I love the mountains and all the detail my Sony digicam picked up. And the window was extremely clean!

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A short, but pleasant visit to the Overberg

During the holidays we visited with our good friends, Noel and Shandre Bastiaan, who live in Bredasdorp in the Overberg region.  It is roughly 180 km’s from Cape Town.

Overberg is a district in South Africa to the east of Cape Town beyond the Hottentots-Holland mountains. It lies along the Western Cape Province’s south coast between the Cape Peninsula and the region known as the Garden Route in the east. 

Overberg_Town_Map

It is really a well-kept coast of rugged, unspoiled beaches.  Because of time restrictions, we could only stay over for one night which meant we had to squeeze in a trip to the beach!  First up was Struisbaai.  We chose a very windy day…nonetheless it was gorgeous!

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Struisbaai is in a natural bay and is well known for its 14 kilometers of uninterrupted white beach with safe waters for swimming and long beach walks. Southern Right whales visit from June to December to calve and mate.

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After that episode with the wind, we headed home and Noel and Shandre were the perfect hosts.  In true South African style we had “potjie kos”.  In South Africa, potjiekos literally translated “small pot food”, is a stew prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot.

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In true holiday spirit, Noel has a hammock at the braai area

The next day we headed off to the beach…again! This time to Arniston or Waenhuiskrans.  We had a perfect day…no wind, just sun and surf baby!

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Arniston is a small seaside settlement in the Overberg region on the Cape South coast, close to Cape Agulhas, the southern-most tip of Africa. Prior to the loss of the Arniston, it was known as Waenhuiskrans, an Afrikaans name meaning literally “Wagon house cliff”, after a local sea cave large enough to accommodate a wagon and a span of oxen.  read more…

beach

Truly a beautiful beach. Quiet, serene and refreshing.  Thanks to Noel and Shandre for hosting us.  Although not my first time here…definitely one of the highlights of our visit home this year!

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Urban hike # 2: Another awe-inspiring walk through history

These hikes are really getting intense!  They are so inspiring and informative, and yes it takes me weeks to get info together and sort pics to write about!  Sorry for delay! 🙂

On Saturday, 23 June we tackled yet another route of my new-found, beloved city, Jozi.

I seriously have a hard time writing in detail of my experience…it is just to overwhelming but in a good way.  I will attempt to give you an overview in picture once again.

We were welcomed with a misty, cold morning but nevertheless excitement were all around.  We gathered at a coffee shop at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newton.

Misty downtown

Reflections

Beyers Naude

We arrived at Beyers Naude Square, which houses the City Library.  Beyers Naude was the leading Afrikaner anti-apartheid activist during the struggle.  Although I wasn’t born a Naude, we share the same surname and I have a lot of respect for what he stood for.  Ironically I share a name with his daughter, also called Liesel Naude.

Taking pictures is strictly forbidden in the library, so that is unfortunately all I could get.  It has been refurbished and looks like a library that can compete with the best in the world.

The Sun breaking through

How’s that for snail mail?

Interesting buildings

We could be walking the streets of New York.

Home of Markham (the men’s clothing store) built in 1897

Dirty building

Big blue buildings

These buildings are gorgeous…however, I can’t remember their names or history!

Ghandi square

Mining district

As we headed through the mining district we became drenched with rain.  My feet were soaking!

First mine-shaft

Can you believe this is how it looked way back?

Then we headed back to Newton.  On our way we passed through the first Chinatown.

Malay camp

South African Police Office

Here is where a lot of bloody Apartheid-related interrogations took place.  This building must house a lot of nightmares and secrets.

After this we headed over the Mandela Bridge over to Braamfontein to the Neighbourgoods Market.

Interior of Neighbourgoods Market

I really enjoyed the vibe at the Neighbourgoods Market.  I have visited the one in Cape Town a few years ago (which I enjoyed more) but I must be honest, the food at the Jozi market was totally overpriced and not tasty at all!  However, it is a nice place to meet with friends over a coffee.

After nearly 4 hours of walking and learning we were done!  Phew!  Another successful and awesome walk!

Samantha, Uncle Roy, Edwellan, Andrea, Ashley and I

That is only a drop in the ocean of all pictures I took.  Thanks to Uncle Roy for always being available!  Next hike is planned for 28 July.  Cheers to that!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

Fleeting ~ {Lasting for a markedly brief time} : Moment ~ {A particular point in time}

In 2007 my family and I visited a farm in Redelinghuys, Sandveld, West Coast for a weekend.  We had a great time and the farm naturally had all kinds of animals.  I shared a fleeting moment with this curious ostrich who just happened to move into the frame of the fence at the right time:

….and then he moved on to join his fellow fury friends.

 

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Walking through history…another hike

Our monthly hikes are unintentionally becoming information sessions.  Sittings where we learn history, (and not necessarily what we learned at school)…real and relevant history.

The last hike was no exception.

Map of the reserve

Gathering around the “gifbol” (poison ball)

The valley

The morning sun

Crossing the river

Remains of an early Tswana village

Typical rock formation for mining purposes

Marais farm

Gathering in front of Marais farm

History of farm

Walking towards the end of the trail

This hike was exceptional.  I wish I could write about the totality of it…it is just too much information.  I don’t even know where to begin.  We literally walked through history.  Thanks to Noel Thornton for being such an inspirational guide.  You really invigorated my hunger for history!

If you want more information on the history of the reserve visit their website:

http://www.knra.co.za/history.htm

PS: Our next hike is this coming Saturday, 23 June.  Really revved up about this one as were doing another city hike.  If you’re interested let me know.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Better late than never!  Last week’s photo challenge:

Summer ~ {the warmest season of the year; in the northern hemisphere it extends from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox}

Where I’m from in Paarl, temperatures soar on average in summer at 39/40 degrees Celsius daily. However for some reason I am beginning to love winter more.  Could be because we have such lovely winters here in Jozi, Gauteng.

These pics depict nostalgia to me.  I took them in Ancona, Italy.

It reminds me of summer times in Cape Town, especially Muizenberg.

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Urban hike: A walk through Jozi city

A few Saturdays ago, I went on what I would describe as a spiritual walk through Jozi city.  It was awe-inspiring.  I haven’t enough words to describe my experience in detail.  But I have hundreds of pictures to try to explain what I went through. (don’t worry I won’t share all of it!)

Early morning meeting

We all met up at a central place before leaving for the city.

Driving into the city

Getting ready

Roy Fillis

Our hiking group is very informal.  With our first hike earlier this year, the idea was formed to do an urban hike.  Two sisters, Gillian and Nicole are fellow hikers and suggested we ask their Uncle Roy to facilitate a hike through the city.  Uncle Roy loves history and is so passionate about the city.  He grew up and schooled in the metropolis and till today lives there.  His love for Jozi extremely tangible and contagious.

He briefed us on the plan for the day and you could feel the excitement in the air.  Hurriedly we made our way through the streets of Jeppestown.  All while Uncle Roy telling us interesting stories about years gone by.

Confusion

Can be easy to get lost!

And there she was…

Ahead lies the city!

David Webster’s Memorial Park

David Webster (1945 – May 1, 1989) was a social anthropologist in South Africa who was murdered by covert forces of the Apartheid state.

Webster was shot dead outside his house by a hit squad of the Civil Cooperation Bureau, a covert government agency. The hit squad was paid R40,000 (at the time, equivalent to about US$8,000) for his murder. Ferdi Barnard, the man who pulled the trigger on the shotgun used, was later tried and found guilty in 1998; he was sentenced to two life terms plus 63 years for a number of crimes, including the murder of Webster. (source: Wikipedia)

David Webster’s home restored to its former glory

After we admired his beautiful house we headed down to Coca Cola Park, home of Ellis Park Stadium.

Interesting artwork/sculpture

After a few “Kodak”  moments…

The group

We passed through some interesting streets and sights.  Including this shop front.  It was covered with a photo of a street somewhere in Denmark.  The photo looked so real, it looked like the Jozi street vendor was part of it!

Jozi Street Vendor

Then we headed on to Joubert Park, home of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.  Uncle Roy arranged a visit to the gallery that was totally fantastic!  Here are a few pics:

Art

Out of a fire came art

Burnt postcard

Stunning gallery interior

Operating hours JAG

Be sure to visit the Gallery.  It is a definite gem and a good reason to visit the city!

By then, we had been walking almost 3 hours.  Our legs were wobbly and we were hungry! Our initial plan was to visit Hillbrow and the Mining District, but there was just too little time.

We left the Gallery and went on our way.  These were some of the sights we saw along the way:

Block of flats

Another dirty building

Mural on building

We then decided to end of this trip by visiting the Maboneng Precinct.  (I also wrote about another visit here)

Maboneng Precinct

Interesting coffee shop

Girls having fun!

Me with my friends, Melonie Karriem and Andrea Abrahams having some fun in the very funky security booth.

Graffiti in the alley

We are done!

We were literally done! We were really jaded but in awe of a great day!

This was the area we covered, more or less.

Area covered

If you want to contact Uncle Roy for a similar walk, here follows his details:

Roy Fillis

+27 83 8673158

royfillis@gmail.com

Also contact me if you want to join us for the next one!  It was truly a remarkable day.  This was just a drop in the ocean.  I still have hundreds of photo’s I haven’t showed you.  Thank you Uncle Roy, you outdid yourself!

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A theatrical weekend and a dose of salsa!

What a great weekend!

It started with the DIY shoot with photographer, Kim McFarlane, for the 4changemag on Saturday morning.  Read about me joining this very exciting magazine as the resident DIY writer.

Then in the evening we went to see the very controversial and gripping true story of Ellen Pakkies, a seemingly ordinary woman, living in a notoriously violent area ironically named “Lavender Hill “, in the vicinity of Cape Town, murdered her beloved son Adam, or “Abie” as she called him, a crystal metaphetatimine (tik) addict.

Vinette Ebrahim (as Ellen Pakkies) & Christo Davids (as Adam Pakkies)

We left the theatre in a bit of a shake.  The show was extremely intense and raw…but every bit successful for just that reason.  The struggle and fight against this vicious ill of our time is intense and raw and we need heavenly intervention.  If you want more information, follow the show and their performing details on Facebook.

Then on Sunday as per usual we went to church and received yet another Spirit-filled and God-inspired word! Wow…powerful and intense word.  The Sunday lunch was another highlight of the day but a bit rushed as we had to get ready for another theatre production by our friends, Solomon Cupido and Bradley Olivier at PopArt in the The Maboneng Precinct , Johannesburg East.

PopArt Centre

Comedy duo, Bradley & Solomon

I haven’t laughed so much and so hard in such a long time! Well done guys! We cannot wait for the next one! And oh, I must mention I am very proud to say these boys are from my home-town, Paarl and I took the poster pic!  Watch out Trevor Noah!

“Tuff times”

Maboneng, a Sotho word meaning “place of light”, is a fitting name for a district that has fast become a centre of creative energy for Johannesburg’s urban artists. With a mix of art galleries, and retail and studio space on offer, the precinct draws the inner-city public, as well as the chic, art-going crowd of the city’s northern suburbs, bringing life back into downtown Johannesburg.

City skyline

The energy is electrifying.  Sidewalk restaurants, kids playing and graffiti lines the street.

Kids playing

I love this very cool “Before I die” wall of art.

Interesting wishes

After the show we decided to go chill at The Rooftop Bar of the Canteen Restaurant at Arts On Main. What a refreshing experience! I felt like I was instantly transported to Havana, Cuba. The atmosphere was thrilling!

The bar is the home of salsa, where scores of lithe dancers spend their Sunday afternoons swaying to the hypnotic rhythms of Afro-Cuban tunes.

Sexy salsa!

Salsa – A Latin American style of music, influenced by jazz

It got my feet itching and I suddenly have an urge to learn Salsa!  Wow, truly an amazing and authentic experience.

All in all…a magnificent weekend!  Thanks to all my friends who help made it happen! Big ups!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

Although difficult to shoot, one of my favourite subjects to capture on camera.  It changes dramatically during the day in terms of light and luminescence.

A few shots from the archive of my travels:

Sedgefield, Garden Route

Montjuïc Communications Tower, Barcelona

Read about the tower here.

Pantheon, Rome

 Read about the Pantheon here.

Florida Lake, Johannesburg

Fiano Romano, Italy

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

One of my favourite holiday spots is the West Coast National Park in the Western Cape.  Whenever we can we try to visit.  It is filled with all kinds of fauna and flora and small wild animals.

A few years ago we were steadily cruising through the park in search of interesting sights.  Imagine our surprise when we came across this…

Still snake and figurine

Now firstly the snake on its own would have been interesting, but to find a plastic figurine in a nature reserve was a bit freaky.  Take in mind that getting out of the car is not allowed so someone took a chance and carefully placed the figure there.  I took some pictures and we went on our way.

We came back and was again surprised at this:

Someone moved the figurine!

Obviously the snake is dead…cause it stayed in the same position for hours. And a brave visitor decided to play around with the figure.  Too much for me to take.  I dislike snakes ~ (as read here and maybe because of ignorance), and the irony is I live in wild Africa and love wild parks!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

Journey ~ {The act of travelling from one place to another}

The journey by car

Driving through Sedgefield, Garden Route, South Africa

Journey by ship

Travelling by ferry from Dover, England to Calais, France.

Flying by plane

En-route to my home, Cape Town

Travelling by train

Travelling with the Gautrain, Johannesburg.

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Another day in Parys…

…and yes I have the spelling right.  It is not Paris, France but Parys, Freestate, South Africa. Hubby and I visited this quaint little town in 2010 for our 8th wedding Anniversary, and I guess we fell in love all over again. 🙂

A mere hour’s drive out of the city…it is a great getaway!  This time round we invited a few friends along and made a day-trip of it.  Here follows a photo essay of the day: (some pics taken while in transit)

An appropriate greeting...Welcome Cafe

The Eiffel Tower

The local butchery. We stocked up on some good organic meat.

The butchery interior

The streets are lined with quaint little shops...

Cute shop

The Vaal River

The mighty Vaal river

The Vaal River  is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source in the Drakensberg mountains in Mpumalanga, east of Johannesburg and about 30 km north of Ermelo and only about 240 km from the Indian Ocean. It then flows westwards to its conjunction with the Orange River southwest of Kimberley in the Northern Cape. It is 1,120 km in length, and forms the border between MpumalangaGauteng and North West Province on its north bank, and the Free State on its south. (source: Wikipedia) We ended off our day with ice cream at the local gourmet bistro, Hoi Poloi.  It has a very quirky style with a lot of French influence.

Very steep stairs

Bistro interior

Lounging at the back of the bistro

Below the bistro is what looks like an upholstery boutique and a collection of vintage cars.  Check out the antique doors!

Antique doors

Another stunning door!

Bistro view from the bottom up

A vertical garden...how interesting!

Hands down one of my favourite small towns in South Africa now (amongst Franschhoek, Dullstroom, etc).  It has so much to offer in terms of shopping, eating and sight-seeing.

“Parys, ne peut pas attendre de vous voir à nouveau!”

(Cannot wait to see you again, Parys!)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

Unusual ~ {Being definitely out of the ordinary and unexpected; slightly odd or even a bit weird}

Dead fish on the shore

To us city dwellers from Johannesburg, the beach is not a regular sight.  So this dead fish immediately drew our attention.

Nosy Joburgers

Pics taken at Noetzie beach, Knysna.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

Distorted ~ {Form into a spiral shape}; {Having an intended meaning altered or misrepresented}

Christmas lights in PE

As a rookie photographer I am always snapping away. It has its pro’s and con’s. I become totally oblivious of anyone around me as I am totally consumed with getting that one pic.  This one was taken while driving through Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth. I remember the girls were tired and really wanted my attention. But I sure am glad I got it!  

 

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Contrast like day and night…

Contrast ~ {Put in opposition to show or emphasize differences}

I took this picture when on holiday in January while a passenger in the car. (Excuse the quality).

It is a timber shack located on the N2 in a township called Noetzie. It is placed adjacent to Pezula, the most luxurious residential resort on the continent.  This very skew building caught my eye and I couldn’t help but wonder how it can still stand and who lives in it?

We kept on driving into Knysna town and just a few kilometres down the road another timber building caught my eye (another pic while driving):

I am not sure if it is a retail shop…but it looked very interesting. It had a vertical garden on the upside. Although very close in proximity the two buildings are literally & figuratively world’s apart.  Makes you think doesn’t it?

PS: This is my 140th post!! Yeah!

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Rapid moving with the Gautrain

The Gauteng Province is considered the economic heartland of Africa and is now home to the Gautrain. Gautrain is an 80-kilometre (50 mi) mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng ProvinceSouth Africa, which links JohannesburgPretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport. (wikipedia)

The greater Johannesburg has a population of 10 million and Pretoria has 2.3 million. The two cities are rapidly sprawling towards each other and the train is expected to further the urbanization along the transport corridor.

My family and I were privileged to use it about a month ago.  Ashley goes to Pretoria once a week for business.  Usually he uses the car but most of the day he is stuck in traffic and this becomes very costly.  So we decided to give the Gautrain a go and make a day-trip of it.

We decided to board at Rhodesfield Station close to OR Tambo.

Rhodesfield station

Being a bit impaired on the technological front, we had a bit of trouble with the automatic ticket machine…

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The ticket prices are fairly reasonable if you take into account the convenience.  See the fare table below:

Gautrain-fares

From Rhodesfield we had to connect at Marlboro to get the train that went to Centurion.  So our total cost for the day for all 4 of us (yes, Kirsten had to pay!) was R268.

Rhodesfield to Malboro – R22 pp

Marlboro to Centurion – R 29 pp

Parking ticket – R10

Golden card – R 10 pp

Not sure how we got to that amount but that is more or less the breakdown.

The girls were very excited!

First time on a train for the girls and it’s a speed train!  Oh I think Chelsea once went on a train-trip with the creche to the zoo…but definitely Kirsten’s first time.

Waiting on the platform

It's coming in...

Beautiful!

Interior very clean

Waiting at Marlboro station

Marlboro station is situated to the north of Alexandra township, next to the wealthy suburb of Sandton.

In transit

Another train passing...whooosshh

Afgri building Byls Bridge

Love the interesting design of the Afgri Building next to the N1 highway.

This 9 000m² building is the first of a number of high quality office blocks which are to be erected in the Byls Bridge precinct. Each building will have a different architectural flavour, all distinctive cutting edge designs setting the trend for future developments in the area.

The building developed, built and owned by M&T Development has been constructed for AFGRI Holdings, a well known South African Company.

Centurion station

And in a wink of an eye we were in Centurion! Imagine Chelsea’s face as we nudged her to get off! “Is the train ride finished?  But we just got on!”  The trip from Marlboro to Centurion is 12 minutes.  That is an indication that the Gauteng Department of Transport has achieved their goal of getting the people there quicker.

The project is primarily aimed at enhancing and supporting economic growth in the Gauteng Province and generating employment. It is part of a longer-term vision, which will include a commitment towards creating and sustaining a new culture of public transport usage.

All in all, a great experience.  Imagine the pride I felt when using this world-class facility that can easily compare to any other globally. Proud to be South African.

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